First television screening of Universal Horrors

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Ian Fryer
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First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by Ian Fryer »

Sorry if this is a little off-topic, but I've been asked to find out when the Universal horror films of the 1930s first began screenings on British television.

Using Genome I can't find any screenings before the BBC's Masters of Terror series of double bills in 1976. Using Times Digital Archive the first ITV screenings I can find are in 1969, when a few ITV regions began late night screenings of X-Films.

Does this sound right according to people's memories or have I missed something in my research?

fatcat
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by fatcat »

Not saying was a premier but some ITV regions had a thunderclap type umbrella title called 'Appointment with Fear' which began in July 71 IIRC these were purely horror related rather than just X rated.
The first ones shown were indeed the Universal horrors -Dracula- Frankenstein- Invisible Man-The Strange Door etc

Ian Fryer
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by Ian Fryer »

I remember Appointment With Fear well. If only that same level of imagination and effort was taken with the screening of older films today!

brigham
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by brigham »

I'd seen FRANKENSTEIN before 1976, and that was on television. Late '60s, I'd guess.

Ian Fryer
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by Ian Fryer »

That sounds right. Some ITV regions were showin them from August 1969.

Mark
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by Mark »

I also remember them, a lot earlier than 76.

Also the various "Abbott And Costello Meets..." films, they must go back a bit too.
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prisoner5
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by prisoner5 »

Must have been pre "69 because i left school that year, Anglia or was it Yorkshire not sure because we had pictures from Belmont then or there abouts, and i loved the Universal horrors with Boris Karloff and had permission to stay up late on Fridays to watch them.Really was a big fan and would bike miles to buy U.S. mags from news stands in different towns.Remember to this day all the old Universal horrors will try to rack my brains and see if i can come up with something better later on.

BrentCleever21
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by BrentCleever21 »

I think 1969/1970 was the period when I first saw the classic Universal Monsters on ITV, but they may have been shown earlier in the London region. I have a vague memory of reading through back issues of Films and Filming from the mid-1960's and reading their excited notes of the Universal movies being broadcast for the first time. Can't remember any details, but the first issue of Supernatural( January 1969) has an article by Stan Nichols which says that "King Kong caused a minor sensation among the uninitiated on Boxing Day 1966...Apart from two showings at London's National Film Theatre early in 1965...(it) had not been seen here since shortly after its original release." He goes on to say that, "although taste had undeniably been whetted, it was a long time before anything comparable followed. The provincial stations showed a tendency for unearthing what they loosely termed 'horror ' pictures. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was revived, as were almost all the Abbott and Costello Meet... series that contained horror stars."
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tiswas2
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by tiswas2 »

It seems that ITV's 1969 deal with major American studio's was the start of the screenings.

Great article on the history of film screenings on UK Tv here :

http://www.smguariento.com/invitation-t ... branaghan/

Ian Fryer
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by Ian Fryer »

Thank you all, your replies have been fascinating and just what I needed. And yes, that article in the post above is very interesting indeed.

Ronco
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by Ronco »

Slightly off topic, but when my brother went off to the pub on a Friday or Saturday night, he used to let me watch his portable B&W TV in his bedroom, and late at night were a series of horror films (late 1970s/early 80s on BBC2?). Oh the joy. Many films I have seen only one: Zoltan, Hound of Dracula, The Beast Must Die, The Ghoul etc. and most infamously, The Hand. "Infamously" because I fell asleep near the end and never did find out what happened.

prisoner5
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by prisoner5 »

Thanks Tiwas2 for that link, fascinating and enlightening, 2 titbits that apply to me are the Anglia "the horror film" in 1970, could have sworn it was earlier that was my first encounter with Karloff and Lugosi, and secondly ATVs "Appointment with fear" which i remember for Peter Tomlinsons intros, surrounded by teddy bears sent in by viewers and the flickering lights, the giggling i could hear from people in the studio, cant remember or name any of the films shown, only the links which is really what the early "Tiswas" was all about programmes and cartoons linked by atv staffers, which incidentally always got a mention by Tomlinson after the film before closedown and his announcement to switch off your set, goodnight to you all again.
Just thinking out loud this could work again today if we had a sort of horror host not only doing the intro but also linking before and after the ad" breaks, similar to the old U.S. hosts from years ago, its never been done here in the U.K.
Loved those horrors back then, scary and good fun so different to some of todays fare which rely so much on blood and guts.

Mark
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Re: First television screening of Universal Horrors

Post by Mark »

I clearly recall "King Kong" shown on a Saturday night in 72, also a Christmas holiday screening ( afternoon) of "Mighty Joe Young", around the same time.
"A cup of Tea....Tea...Tea"

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